Rep. Abby Finkenauer endorses Joe Biden for president

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Rep. Abby Finkenauer and Joe Biden — official photo; Zak Neumann/Little Village

Abby Finkenauer became the first Democrat in Iowa’s congressional delegation to endorse a 2020 presidential candidate when the first-term representative announced on Thursday she is supporting Joe Biden.

Finkenauer started her endorsement by talking about her upbringing.

“I was raised in a small town in rural Iowa, where my family instilled in me the importance of hard work, caring for others, and most importantly the value of public service,” said the first-term representative in a written statement released by the Biden campaign. Finkenauer, whose congressional district includes Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, is originally from Sherrill, Iowa. The city, which is near Dubuque — Finkenauer attended Dubuque’s Hempstead High School — has a population of less than 200.

“We need a President who reflects those same values and will make America’s working families their top priority,” Finkenauer said in her statement. “Joe Biden’s character, record, and commitment to rebuilding the backbone of the country — the middle class — is what Iowa and this country needs.”

It’s not really a surprise that Finkenauer chose Biden. In 2007, a then-18-year-old Finkenauer worked as the state volunteer coordinator in Iowa for Biden’s 2008 campaign for president. Biden finished fifth in the 2008 Iowa Caucus, with 4 percent of the vote statewide. Biden dropped out of the race immediately after the caucus results were announced.

(Twenty years earlier, Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign imploded after it was reported part of his closing remarks during a debate at the 1987 Iowa State Fair were taken without credit from a speech delivered a few months earlier by a British politician.)

In 2014, when a 25-year-old Finkenauer ran for the Iowa House of Representatives, she regularly cited her job with the Biden campaign to assure District 99 voters that she had the necessary political experience to be an effective representative. Unlike Biden’s campaign, Finkenauer’s was successful.

Curiously, the endorsement announcement doesn’t mention Finkenauer’s previous work on Biden’s behalf.

In her statement, Finkenauer doesn’t cite any of Biden’s policy proposals. Instead, she focused, as Biden does, on his promise to end political divisions in Washington D.C., and in the nation.

“It’s time we have leadership in the White House who believes in the value of not only uniting a divided Congress, but uniting our country through common sense, dignity, and respect,” she said.

Finkenauer was elected to represent the Iowa’s 1st Congressional District in 2018, and is currently running for a second term.

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